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in washington president obama is facing lots of criticism for the u.s. mission in libya. two and a half hours from now he'll try to ease concerns about the operation's goals, its costs and the end game. his remarks coming a little over a week from the first coalition air strikes and critical time for opposition fighters on the ground. gadhafi's troops wiped out some of the gains but in recent days coalition air strikes have helped rebels seize some of the northern stays. now to reza sayah with more on benghazi. what's the latest information, ressa, that you are getting. >> reporter: these forces had an impressive three days capturing five towns from the gadhafi forces. today they finally met some resistance, the first in about 72 hours. that resistance coming in the city of sirte, gadhafi's birthplace, his hometown. when you talk to opposition officials here they anticipated a fights there and they got t.rebel figorces pushing back a one rebel fighter telling cnn that he and a group of other fighters cornelio sommaruga gadhafi soldiers waving a right flag, that, of course, the universal signa
and what this could mean for u.s. forces. we're also standing by for a statement from the secretary of state hillary clinton. we're also standing by for a statement from the nato secretary-general in brussels. stand by for that. >>> moammar gadhafi is still on the attack, on this the sixth night of pounding by the coalition forces. an explosion and anti-aircraft fire echos in tripoli just a little while ago. could the outrageous failure at reagan happen again? the fallout, the danger at two planes coming in for a landing radioed the control tower and got no answer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin with the breaking news. the united states may be closer to giving up its lead role in the fight to protect lickance from gadhafi's forces. right now there's new uncertainty, though, about a tentative deal for nato to take command of the mission. we have lots of questions about how this might play out and how it might affect the overall goal of seeing gadhafi go away. the secretary of state hillary clinton will make a statement a little more that an hour from no
once the bombing stops. it's still u.s. policy for gadhafi to go. but that's not the mandate of the united nations mission. this hour, live reports, new information about the battle plan right now, and the president's end game. >>> and fright thing new set backs in japan's nuclear crisis. officials try to put to rest concerns of contaminated food. i'm wolf blitzer you're in "the situation room." >>> anti-aircraft fire over tripoli just a little while ago. one u.s. official tells us coalition attacks appear to have stalled moammar gadhafi and his forces. it's unclear what the libyan leader may be doing next or where he is even right now. gadhafi's compound took a pounding today. u.s. and allied commanders deny they're specifically targeting him or his residents. one u.s. commander acknowledged that gadhafi may still be in power when the bombing stops. president obama says the u.s. will try to push gadhafi out. but within the limits sanctioned by the united nations. >> it is u.s. policy that gadhafi needs to go. we have a wide range of tools to support that policy. when it come
weapons of the nato alliance, like this air strike by britain. and yet, u.s. military officials concede today that the libyan regime is still determined to fight and reinforced its positions in the eastern cities fwh including ajdabiya. the occasion says gadhafi is trying to recruit and arm volunteers to fight rebel forces. the libyan strongman defiant as nato moves to take over command of the libyan mission. the top u.s. commander of the operation tells me that nato has now agreed in principle to not only take charge of the no-fully zone but to also to protect libyan civilians as well. the details will be worked out, he says, over the next few erda. general carter ham sending a message directly to gadhafi. here in "the situation room," we spoke just a littlewhilego and i had this exchange with him. cnn is seen live around the world, including in libya. and officer your military-to-military -- the officers surrounding gadhafi might be watching right now, gadhafi might be watching, his sons might be watching. look into atthe camera. what would you say to them right now, officer t officer
plants right here in the united states. >>> and will the u.s. supreme court green light a massive discrimination lawsuit against walmart? arguments today in one of the most important workers' rights cases the court has ever heard. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >>> moammar gadhafi and his troops are being accused of new carnage and destruction. just hours after president obama tried to explain the u.s. mission in libya to the american people. this hour we have breaking news. we're learning about major, major setbacks for rebel forces in several cities. in misrata, witnesses say government forces are hammering the city hard, firing bullets over civilians' heads and telling them to run for their lives. gadhafi is fighting back with a vengeance against rebels who had regained ground in recent days under the cover of coalition air strikes. >>> and joining us now in ajdabiya is our own arwa damon. you're with the rebels there. how are they doing, arwa? what's the latest? >> reporter: well, wolf, it's been another bitterly disappointing day for the opposition here. th
problems. rebels rescued the weapons officer and turned him over to the united states. now, a u.s. team also picked up the pilot. he is now aboard the uss kearsergeant in the mediterranean. we'll have a live report shortly. >>> moammar gadhafi's ground forces are coming down hard on misrata right now. this amateur video appears to show a mortar shell that is landing near civilians. an opposition spokesman tells cnn the city will fall within hours unless the coalition helps. >> the carnage is too much to bear. this is the fifth day of shelling and destruction and carnage. we already have 77 deaths and we have a countless number of injuries and almost the whole center of the city now is unsafe because of snipers. we haven't seen international strikes since the first day of strikes and we are in urgent need of help quarterback otherwise misrata will be overrun tonight. >> before and after satellite photoses confirm that a mosque in zawiya will be destroyed. the mosque served as a command center for the resistance during the time they controlled zahyiya. >>> a spoke woman says one of three
safe for infants, i'm wolf blitzer, you're in the "situation room." in a span of 24 hours, the u.s. military said the coalition launched more than 50 strikes in the mission to protect libyan civilians. but no indication the battle is being over. just a short while ago the secretary of state warned gadhafi the quickest way to end it is for him to leave.<[kyk: . we2íor certainly encouraged the would make a right decision. not only institute a real co comprehensive cease-fire but withdraw from the cities and military abs and prepare for a transition that does not incl e include. >> there are serious reports of major clashes under way. what do we know about the fighting at this moment. >> you just heard secretary of state hillary clinton encouraging momammar gadhafi bu he's not backing down. a couple of major developments that shows that this conflict is far from over. anded stage is set from what could be a lengthy and complicated conflict. let's start with a strategically strategic city. then gadhafi forces took it over. when the momentum shifted back to the opposition forces and t
can call the obama doctrine, when to deploy u.s. military forces around the world. he laid out the case when it's in the united states interest to use military force, when it's in the united states interest not to use military force, and this is the example that he gave, this is going to be the precedent, what the united states has done now in libya, presumably given the explosion of unrest that's happening right now throughout north africa and the middle east, if there are similar circumstances that develop in other countries, whether in syria, or yemen and bahrain, and the potential of mass slaughter of civilians is there, the pressure will be on this president to go ahead and authorize what the president authorized in libya. and the greatest potential for the u.s., if there's a revolution, and if there's serious unrest in iran and the people are standing up against mahmoud ahmadinejad and the i ayatollahs take similar action as far as iran is concerned. i think we can call this the obama doctrine. >> and he also made it clear what the limits of this mission is as he sees it
obama from the east room of the white house essentially saying the u.s. will help lead the international enforcement of a no-fly zone over libya. he also took some time there outlining what american forces will not be doing. >> the united states is not going to deploy ground troops into libya and we are not going the use force to go beyond a well-defined goal. >> in moments i'll be speaking live with nic robertson in libya and wolf blitzer about who makes the next move here. that's in just a moment. we're also learning here as we're staying on top of the story in japan, we're learning trace amounts of radiation have reached the united states' west coast, all the way from this fukushima daiichi power plant in japan. so i'll be speaking with the mayor of los angeles shortly. and we'll find out what the new danger rating is right around fukushima, where that power plant is still out of control here. it's been one week to the day after the earthquake and tsunami hit. looked at this video here, video that was flagged for us, showing some of the new views we're getting from the powerful tsunam
the u.s. mission there in libya about cost, about an exit strategy. the president and other senior administration officials have talked about this and narrowly defined in their row focus of this mission. and that the u.s., which has been taking a supporting -- a leading role rather would move in the second phase to a supporting role. what would that look like? well, jay carney, white house spokesman today said that u.s. jets would not be used in enforcing any kind of no-fly zone but it would be more of an assist role perhaps providing jamming technology, even intelligence. so that is how the white house sees this next phase of the mission in live xwrap but again, no official reaction yet to this agreement. one other point i should make is that you know, we're waiting to find out if perhaps the president will make any public comments about this to the american people. there have been a lot of questions about the president perhaps not fully explaining all of the ins and outs of this mission to the american people. the white house has pushed back on that saying from the beginning whet
libya's air defenses. the u.s. and british military fired a total of 124 tomahawk cruise missiles. u.s. officials say they are getting ready to hand over operational control of the military mission. >> we expect in a matter of days to be able to turn over the primary responsibility to others. we will continue to support the coalition. we'll be a member of the coalition. we'll have a military role in the coalition. we will not have the pre-eminent role. >> let's get the military perspective on this from cnn's pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence. let's start with secretary gates pledge to hand over control in just a couple days. first, what exactly does that mean and is it realistic? >> what it means is they are looking now to set up some sort of structure by which another entity could take control that could be nato although i've been told by a source that there is some reluctance to fly under a nato flag and another thing is so up a separate command and control structure. in one key area u.s. participation may have already peaked this morning. i was told just this morning by an offi
in jerusalem killed one person and wounded more than 50. israel's ambassador to the u.s. says that the bombing does not appear related to militants' recent rocket attacks on southern israel. >>> defense secretary robert gates met with his israeli counterpart in tel aviv today. and he is urging the israelis to restart peace negotiations with the palestinians. defense officials say that gates believes israel can get ahead of the pop ulous wave across the middle east by pressing a peace deal. >>> and hundreds of potential jurors are at the los angeles county courthouse today. 12 will be chosen to decide whether michael jackson's doctor goes to prison. dr. conrad murray is charged with giving jackson an overdose of an anesthetic. opening statements in the trial are set for may. >>> now more for our top story. there are safety concerns at reagan national airport. after two pilots were unable to reach the control tower before landing. our sandra endo is in washington with details. first of all, sandra, the flight landed safely, but there's still so many questions here. the real issue, why the contro
, by any method. >> now, in a u.s. military briefing just a couple of hours ago, we were told there was no indication gadhafi's forces are moving away from either misrata or ajdabiya. cnn's nic robertson is in the capital city of tripoli. nic, tell me what you have been seeing there if the last 24 hours and also how gadhafi's defiance, if at all, has changed some of the forces within the capital city. >> reporter: well, one of the things we've seen really that reflects the fact that this no-fly zone seems to be fully in place is overnight last night, just before dawn this morning, we heard what sounded like jet aircraft flying overhead and then several loud explosions. so it does give the impression that the coalition can fly and can target locations in and around the city. effectively, it would seem like almost with impunity right now. ajdabiya is a red line for gadhafi. as government officials, they want to hold on to the city. it does appear they're not moving their forces out. the same with misrata. the impression is although a couple of coalition strikes overnight diminis
united does admit that united will be shrinking it's domestic u.s. network because, he says, the focus in the future is going to be on international coverage. >> the domestic u.s. is a very difficult place to make money. brutal regulation and overtaxation, so it's very hard to make money domestically and that's why our growth has been international. even this year as we were originally going to grow between 1% and 2% this year and because of high fuel prices, we have brought that back to flat. but even there, that flat is comprised of shrink the domestic systems and growing the international systems. >> this is fascinating because this tells us that the united-continental merger says that airlines in the united states is going to start to look very different. it's got these massive hubs, chicago, washington, houston, newark, los angeles, san francisco, denver. but they're going to be geared to funneling out to the rest of the world. >> so did he say anything about the frequent flyer miles? that's what i want to know. >> tell me about it. he did admit that between them, united and conti
of that u.s. fighter jet and we are happy to report both crew members are safe and in u.s. hands. we are covering the angles from the points on the map. nic robertson in tripoli and chris lawrence at the pentagon and retired navy captain alec frazier is here at the cnn center. chris, what is the pentagon saying about this? >> reporter: well, they are saying, bottom line, carol, is that both of these crew members are now off libyan soil and safely back in u.s. hands, but the story of how they got there, is just fascinating. this crew took off from a base in italy overnight and they were on a strike mission. in other words, they weren't necessarily just patrolling. this was a fighter jet specifically designed to go after some of moammar gadhafi's air defense systems. overnight at some point, the military plane got into some mechanical problems and both of the crew members ejected. their chutes worked just fine but they landed in different places. the pilot was picked up by an osprey. that was sitting off the coast about a hundred miles on the "uss kearsarge." the marines, the 26 marine
housing the u.s. mission to the united nations. the ronald h. brown building was commerce secretary during clinton's first term in office. >>> the shuttle "endeavour" arrives in the space shuttle tonight. it's set to lift off for the final space mission. it's time to continue to suzanne malveaux. i'll be over to talk about the obama doctrine. >>> live from studio 7, i'm suzanne malveaux. want to get you up to speed. i want to go directly to ras lanouf. what is the latest over there? >> hi, suzanne, well, for the last hour and a half, we've been hearing and seeing a fairly heavy artillery barrage. we've been hearing the explosions taking place on the other side of ras lanouf. they are trading artillery with gadhafi's military. this is a blow to the opposition that has been forced back from its positions in ben jawad, 40 miles to the west of here. they came under heavy sustained artillery, tank and rocket fire, as well as snipers inside that town firing on them. they were unable to sustain that, stand up against it. we saw them beating a hastety retreat from ben jawad coming here to r
american fighters jets are active at the moment, u.s. pilots flew 113 of the 175 coalition air sorties yesterday, for example, that u.s. role will shrink dramatically in the next few days leaving others to decide on military targeting. on the ground all public signals from the regime suggest continued defiance and continued attacks on the opposition. but here's the intriguing nugget. senior u.s. officials tell cnn tonight that some members of gadhafi's inner circle are reaching out to the state department and reaching out to other arab nations, as well. curious contacts to say the least but as yet our sources tell us no indication gadhafi himself is looking to negotiate an exit strategy. >> i think there are any number of possible outcomes here, and no one is in a position to predict them. whether they're -- whether there are major further defections or divisions within his family, there are a variety of possibilities that seems to me. >> a variety of possibilities but listen here, secretary gates isn't betting on a peaceful settlement. >> gadhafi has basically sworn that he will show
denouncing their president hosni mubarak. egypt is a major beneficiary of u.s. foreign aid. the u.s. was in the awkward position of supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators without alienating a longtime ally. after weeks of bloody confrontations in tahrir square, longtime president mubarak stepped down. now to libya. click on it, and gives you the latest developments and everything you need to know. libya has become the focal point of this historic movement. rebels dwept into dozens of key cities until moammar gadhafi unleashed military forces on his own people and that prompted nato to get involved with strategic air strikes. this fever has now spread to syria. again, all of the information on cnn.com. bahrain, of course, on the map here and also in yemen as well. anything can happen. john? >> and truly important questions coming out of this, what's going to happen next and why is this happening? mohammed jamjoon is live in abu dab toe answer some of these questions. let's start with syria. it appears the arab awakening is there. president assad is facing a tough choice with viol
up to speed on march 31st. >>> u.s. intelligence source says cia operatives are on the ground in libya today to size up rebel fighters. the source says they are not there for battlefield direction. congress asked defense secretary robert gates about the cia story a short time ago. >> do you see the use of cia and u.s. special forces in libya as following the blueprint we used in afghanistan? >> first of all, i can't speak to any cia activities, but i will tell you that the president has been quite clear that in terms of the united states' military there will be no boots on the ground. >> britain says it has not promised immunity to libya's top diplomat. foreign minister moussa koussa defected wednesday. they say this man moi be a treasure trove of information. >> reporter: it's significant for many reasons, not the least of which he was former head of intelligence. not least of which is because he was at one time a wanted figure by european security services. this is a man whose disappearance here wasn't even known by the deputy foreign minister. >> libyan rebels remain in ful
then become the largest class action employment suit in u.s. history. walmart, america's largest private employer, says, no, the class would be too big, the plaintiffs too dissimilar, the issues too many to litigate. the plaintiffs say walmart wants a big company exception to civil rights 0 law. two lower federal courts have ruled the class and case can go forward. that brings us to the supreme court where we now have three women justices, the most ever. cnn's kate bolduan has been following the case for us and joins us to recap the arguments. kate, good to see you. any sign that the women justices were at all receptive to the plaintiffs? >> reporter: that's very interesting. i would say, first off, that it did seem in the courtroom with the aggressive question you did hear from the female justices, that they were receptive to the women's claims to the sides of the plaintiffs. but, as i just said, there are three women on this court. so what it's looking like -- we always have to give it a huge caveat here because of course we never know until the justices rule -- from the commentary and
. of course, it's been french, british, u.s. fighter jets that have been launching most of the air strikes. again, today another set of air strikes, according to a french official, in or near tripoli targeting a command center, brooke. >> reza, here is a new town, we're all learning, gadhafi's birthplace. we know the rebels are moving westward toward sirte. is that the next big battle, symbolic battle as well, for rebels here? >> reporter: well, it looks like it's the first battle in about three days. the opposition forces over the past 72 hours have been making it look relatively easy, rolling toward the west. this is the first time they're seeing resistance, little bit of fighting. that's probably because sirte is the hometown, the birthplace of colonel gadhafi. he has a lot of supporters, not clear how many have remained in this location. his tribe is based out of this place. rebel fighters telling cnn they're seeing some resistance, telling us that gadhafi loyalists using sha containry, trickery. one rebel fighter telling us that it looks like civilians have been armed. opposition figh
from under a three-star general and it means that the u.s. will effectively now be taking a supportive role rather than the primary role in this operation going forward really just sending in reconnaissance and jamming planes rather than conducting a majority of the strike missions it has been and, of course, the cruise missiles. >> is it clear what would constitute success and when the operation would be over? >> reporter: that's at the moment is not clear, in fact, on the sunday talk shows in the united states, secretary of defense and the secretary of state were asked that kind of thing and could give no collar indication of whether this be a question of weeks, months or whether it would be over by the end of the year so we are hoping for more details as the day progresses but i think it's hard to ascertain how long this campaign might continue, zain. >> cnn diana magnay reporting, thanks, diana. >>> another look at how the rebels advanced. operation held areas are here marked in yellow. areas under control are marked in green. on friday the rebels were in control of benghazi. colon
. that is according to an american admiral, the commander off the u.s. naval forces in europe and africa who said today, quote, we will continue to make him comply. it's also just a couple of hours since a u.s. air force f-15 strike eagle jet went down in eastern libya with two u.s. air force officers on board. the official word from the pentagon today is that the plane experienced some sort of equipment malfunction. we do now know the two crew members ejected. they were recovered and they are now safe and out of libya. >>> i want to get right to the pentagon, get a little bit more on this with chris lawrence live for me there. chris, let's just back up. how was the crew rescued? where are these two members now, and how are they doing? >> well, first off, brooke, how are they doing, they're okay. they've gots minor injuries but that's to be expected when you consider they had to eject from their airplane. these two crew members had some sort of mechanical malfunction if n their f-15. they had to eject over eastern libya from the airplane. now, the ejeksz worked fine, the parachutes landed fine, b
to our correspondent with the opposition right now. president obama tried to explain why the u.s. intervened military as gadhafi was closing in on benghazi a little more than a week ago. >> at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. we had a unique ability to stop that violence. an international mandate for action. a broad coalition preached to join us. the support of arab countries, and a plea for help from the libyan people themselves. we also had the ability to stop gadhafi's forces in their tracks without putting american troops on the ground. to brush aside america's responsibility as a leader and more profoundly our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances, would have been a betrayal of who we are. >> a lot more on what the president said in a moment. we'll also look tonight in an incredibly disturbing incident that looked at a tripoli hotel full of journalists. this woman was dragged away by gadhafi officials, we have updates about what's happened since. i'll talk to nick robert son about it. the
there are big changes there, according to u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton today. she's been speaking at this emergency summit, conference of world leaders, all asking each other the same thing, that being what to do about moammar gadhafi. we're going to take you live to london in just a minute. they're also talking about the possibility that gadhafi could go into exile. but that, of course, opens up all kinds of questions as to where and who might be willing to take him. >>> first i want to go to senior international correspondent nic robertson live in tripoli. nic, before we talk about your trip to misrata, we've heard about large explosions where you are in tripoli just a short time ago. where were they? what did you hear? >> reporter: well, they were a couple of miles away from us. it's not possible to say what the target was. one of the three explosions was perhaps one of the loudest we've heard so far. and they all came within a minute of each other. what makes these explosions different from all the ones we've heard until now over the past week and a half, these came in dayligh
? >> reporter: no. it's not what the u.s. was hoping he'd say. it's not what the syrian people were hoping he'd say, or the rest of the middle east that was looking toward the speech as really a significant benchmark to which direction syria would go. carol, this was a defiance speech. no major concessions and the message here was loud and clear. this is about survival of the regime of bashar al assad and clear, too, he wanted to stay and fight the emergency law that everyone fought. maybe he is actually going to lift it. did not happen. so that means the regime is able to use a very serious and dangerous tool where they can just detain people at their own whims and keep people in check that way. i spoke to one analyst who said if you're anyone in damascus today and you heard that speech you would probably think twice before getting out on the streets to demonstrate because the security services have a brutal history of cracking down really hard. the syrians know the reality on the ground. and it can be dire consequences. >> it sounds so much like what happened in egypt. it's eerie. how worri
the region. i think we might be able to take that decision with the coming days. >> the pentagon says u.s. war jets will still bomb libyan targets only now under a nato id command. also providing logisticalta support but secretary of state hillary clinton says that the u.s. has already dialed back. >> nate so well suited to coordinating this international effort a ensuring that all participating nations are working effectively together toward our shared goals. >> thenited arab emiratedasf announced today 12 of its fighter jets will patrol the no-fly zone. 6 warplanes from qatar are already in place at a military base in greece. rebel fighters trying to hit the hard-hit down got a break today. bombing ed armored vehicles outside there. it hit gadhafi's forces because they were targeting civilians. not to help the rebels. >>> and air traffic controller at rean national airport has been suspended. federal investigators say that he fell asleep on the jobearly wednesday morning forcing two commercial jetliners to land on their own. the controller, a 20-year veteran, was the only one on duty. >
upper level winds that actually transport that into parts of kansas, the u.s., and many other places. and before all is said and done, i would not be surprised if you could find trace amounts of this all the way over to europe. but i have to tell you, this is very, very harmless. this is not a big deal. if you're walking out to your car in bright sunlight, chances are you might be exposed to more radiation than that than these particles across the globe. >> it does still, of course, make you think twice when you hear about it. but hearing it's harmless is good. >>> in a few minutes, we'll be talking more about all of this with a disaster expert about containment efforts in japan. he led numerous expeditions into some of the most contaminated areas of chernobyl. >>> to libya now, and rebels getting closer to moammar gadhafi's doorstep gaining ground with new coalition air strikes. nato now says it will take over the entire military mission there, not just the no-fly zone. so far the u.s. has supplied nearly all the fire power according to pentagon figures. the u.s. military has launch
, one possibility an all-out u.s. assault. that i think the president doesn't want to do, promised the nation he wouldn't do that but how do you turn this thing around on the ground? and there's no -- increasingly, the pessimism is setting in on that front. so it's the other alternative. we don't yet see regime change, but as you just reported we've now seen a regime crack and the biggest -- the best bet for the administration increasingly is the regime will crack from within. >> the question there, david, does gadhafi see the defection of a long-term close comfortanf and say i need to read that tea leave as go or lash out and then the question is what happens? and to your point about, you know, maybe the president is being advised he needs to do more than this but now they're telling congress, $40 million a week which is a lot of money but in the scope of a big military intervention a lot less money than iraq or afghanistan. if they commit to that backseat role but then gadhafi sits there, don't they need could to come back and say never mind, we need to up this? >> yeah, i think
questions out there about the mission in libya, what's the goal of the u.s.? what's the exit strategy? how will the u.s. military be involved? are these all questions he sufficiently answered? >> i think did he. if he's getting criticized that heavily from left and right, he's striking a balance. he made clear that we went in to avoid what he described as violence on a horrific scale in benghazi, that again the mandate of the u.n. coalition that nato is now leading is to protect libyan civilians, i think that makes very clear what success looks like there, it means that libyan civilians are safe, safe in their houses, safe in their cities. at the same time, he made very clear that it is u.s. policy, and the policy of many of our allies. that libya needs to have a new government that responds to the demands of the libyan people. and we will pursue every diplomatic and economic means to that end and leveling the play be field militarily will certainly help. >> if he removes his forces from around misrata, pulls back troops to tripoli, and has all these armed civilians in serte and other plac
>>> a lot happening around the world right here at home, as well. let's get you caught up. the u.s. and its allies pounding libya for a third day. 120 cruise missiles and counting. is this going to help keep moammar gadhafi from attacking his own people? >>> smoke rising from a reactor. workers evacuated. and now there are new concerns about radiation in the food supply. >>> and here at home, a major cell phone merger. the number two carrier poised to become number one. what this means to you. let's get started. "american morning" begins right now. >>> good morning, everybody. >> it's monday, march 21st. >> it's great to see all of you this morning. we're following two stories again, but major developments from where we left off on friday. >> breaking news from japan. >> smoke spotted coming from a damaged nuclear reactor. engineers are struggling there to prevent a meltdown after a devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this month. let's get to anna coren. i understand it's now been evacuated. what's going on there? >> reporter: that's exactly right, ali. they thought they wer
. is there a contradiction in what this mission is? because we've heard from u.s. officials gadhafi has lost legitimacy, they want him out, but the security council resolution talks about protecting civilians. what's the mission? >> if you talk to u.s. officials, they say the mission immediately is to stop the violence against the civilians. but then they also talk about a series of kind of stages that, in in other words, sequencing is the word they're using, one step at a time. they say okay, we're going to try to freeze his advance, especially to benghazi, and continue to tighten the noose in other ways. so they're freely admitting it make take some time to get him to step down, if he each does. i just got some new information from a senior u.s. official. we're here at the airport about to take off with hillary clinton to paris to that meeting on libya. he said that the libyans were still reaching out to the united states. in fact, the foreign minister musa kusa has been calling officials in the united states and they continue to say we're going to have a cease-fire, we're going to have a cease-fire.
on that later in the hour. now libya, though. the top commander of the u.s. military operation in libya says nato has agreed in principle to not only take over the no-fly zone, but also the broader mission of protecting civilians. he said it's all going to happen very soon. here's what general carter hamm said today on "the situation room." >> we expect that nato will take over the no-fly zone this weekend, and then the next piece, the third and final piece, is the mission to protect civilians. nato, it's my understanding that nato has agreed to that in principle and will this command decide on the procedures and timing of accepting that mission. but i think that will probably occur in the very near future. >> ham also said that removing moammar gadhafi from power by military means is not the aim of the mission and the coalition isn't arming the opposition. but the coalition strikes on gadhafi's mechanism of power continue. authorities say coalition fighter planes took out seven libyan tanks in 24 hours. in fact, we got this video from the british ministry of defense showing british aircraft
for the libya operation. that will happen in two or three days, then the current coalition led by the u.s., britain and france can stand down. now we want to go back to cnn's nic robertson joining us from tripoli where that dramatic event unfolded yesterday in the hot hotel. we're hearing the woman has been released. do we know if this is true? >> reporter: well, government officials say she has been released. but so far the government officials here sometimes -- some of the things they tell us don't turn out to be as they tell us directly. when the government spokesman was asked if we could interview her by some journalists who said they talked to her family and had given the green light to interview her now, he made it sound like it was impossible. so, it's really not clear if she's actually been released yet or not. maybe we'll get more information on that tomorrow. when i challenged him about the fact that he had been accusing her of being a prostitute against the fact that her family says she was a law student, this is what he had to say. >> yes, nic. >> the family, you have been des
of president obama's nationally televised promise that the u.s. military role in libya would be of limited time and limited scope. is that a promise the president can keep if his end game requires gadhafi to go? our senior analyst david gergen is with us, he's advised four u.s. presidents. david, the timing here is horrible for the administration. you can't score this based on one day, but the president of the united states addresses the american people last night and addresses the world. he says the american involvement will be of limited time, of limited scope, and then the day after, the day after, the opposition forces, with whom he has thrown his lot, get routed on the battle field. what's the choice the president faces? >> very difficult choice, john. with the rebels in retreat now and gadhafi forces on the offensive, and we just heard a reporting that the rebels are not going to be satisfied just holding on to the east. they want to go all the way to tripoli. what i think is becoming apparent is they can't get to tripoli unless nato and the united states included go -- you know, do this
hear last week, general carter hamm leading the u.s. effort there to enforce the no-fly zone, describing misrata specifically and saying it was very difficult to know exactly where the opposition was, exactly where the government was, exactly where the civilians were and exactly where these heavy weapons were because they are hideing in houses. as we drove out of misrata yesterday we saw soldiers with their vehicles hiding inside buildings, inside buildings. they had driven in through the store fronts and hiding inside the stores and the tanks hiding under trees, so this makes it very, very hard for aircraft to see these heavy weapons and to target them easily without the fear of injuring civilians and that is the challenge that these aircraft flying overhead are facing right now, carol. >> nic robertson reporting live in tripoli, thanks. >>> president obama goes on television to face a war weary nation that would be our own, he says ignoring moammar gadhafi threats of slaughtering civilians would have betrayed our values as americans, but he said using the military to force
six reactors have been reconnected. also, the fallout, the u.s. fda slapping a ban on importing produce and dairy products from any of the four prefectures nearest the reactors. and workers at the crippled nuclear plant are speaking out. >>> late new reports of coalition air strikes in the overnight hours near misurata. we're just getting this information in. details in a moment. also, secretary of state hillary clinton, moammar gadhafi, both speaking out tonight. what he's saying marches to the beat of a drummer only he seems to hear. what she's saying, if true, is a potential game changer. here she is on abc news. >> are you indicating somebody close to him reaching out saying how does he get out? >> this is what we hear from so many sources. >> today? >> today, yesterday, the day before. some of it i'll be very -- this is my personal opinion, some of it is theater. a lot is just the way he behaves is somewhat unpredictable. but some of it is exploring, what are my options? where could i do? and we would encourage that. >> in tripoli, a surprise speech from gadhafi aired just
stalemate, which is very bad for the libyan people who continue to suffer, it's very bad for the u.s. and the rest of the coalition maintaining this no-fly zone. i can't see anything good about a projected stalemate. it's true, we don't know what the opposition would be like when they take over, but there are actually some promising signs. but the important thing is we should be in there, we should be working with them. i don't know why what we do with them should be covert at all. frankly, there's a lot we ought to do that's not lethal, starting with just the fact of recognizing this is a war of momentum. right after the strikes began, the momentum shifted back to the opposition. it looks dangerously as though it's tilting the other way now. the u.s. would have joined qatar and france and other countries would have come along and recognizing this provisional government, i think it would send a powerful message to gadhafi that the end is coming. >> bob, from what we understand, there are cia officers on the ground trying to understand, i guess, make contacts with the opposition, figu
argument against arming the opposition forces is the u.s. isn't really sure who they're arming, there may be anti-american elements among them, that president obama acknowledged. i just want to show our viewers of what some of president obama and secretary of state clinton said earlier today. >> first of all, i think it's important to note that the people that we've met with have been fully vetted. so we have a clear sense of who they are. so far they're saying the right things and most of them are professionals, lawyers, doctors, people who appear to be credible. >> we do not have any specific information about specific individuals from any organization who are part of this. but of course, we're still getting to know those who are leading the trends -- the transitional national council and that will be a process that continues. >> seems to be slightly contradictory statements from the president and the secretary of state. that is part of the problem in terms of who do you arm and where do those arms potentially end up. >> it certainly is part of the problem. you know, you never really kn
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need the assistance of the u.s. and coalition forces in order to push back the advances of the libyan government troops, in particular when they were making the major advancement on benghazi, which officials here said would have cost the lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians. will they need to be armed now in order to push gadhafi out? well, the president yesterday in one of those sit-down interviews again saying they're not ruling anything out or ruling anything in, but he said that question is being assessed. take a listen. >> one of the questions that we want to answer is, do we start getting to a stage where gadhafi's forces are sufficiently degraded where it may not be necessary to arm opposition groups, but we're not taking anything off the table at this point. >> reporter: now, aides here at the white house seem to feel that it there is progress being made there because of the pressure that's being applied in this phase two of the operation there, which is now being led by nato, brooke. >> because of the pressure being we know time is of the essence. so how long woul
life. for a woman in any country, in the u.s., egypt, libya, to come out and say she was raped. no one would do that unless they were raped especially in a conservative society. human rights watch have said girls and women who are survivors of rape are taken to because of the shame associated with rape. and these are centers where the girls and women are held as prisoners basically because -- >> they're not rehabilitated. >> social rehabilitation centers. >> held away from the rest of society. >> they're practically prisoners. >> that's the part that's most amazing. you've told you that sources say she's being held still even though they claim she's been set free. >> her mother and relatives have appeared on television and said that libyan officials have told them if she retracts the story, they'll release her. but gives me hope she's alive. but i won't believe she's alive until i see her. i was a journalist in libya, i went with a group of journalists in 1996, and they kept us in a hotel practically prisoners of gadha gadhafi's ministry of information. and during a news conference bec
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